Gila Valley Arizona Temple

The Gila Valley Arizona Temple

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Gila Valley Arizona Temple Wiki


The Gila Valley Arizona Temple is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in the town of Central between the communities of Pima and Thatcher in Arizona.

The new temple serves the significant Latter-day Saint population in the eastern part of Arizona’s Gila River Valley, who previously had to travel to the Mesa Arizona Temple, 150 miles to the west. The area has a historical significance to the LDS Church; Thatcher, which was founded by Mormon pioneers in 1881, was home to former LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball during his youth in the early part of the 1900s.[1]


Speculation that the area would be home to a temple was made as early as 1882, when Jesse N. Smith predicted that a temple would be built in Thatcher.[2]

At the St. Josph Stake Conference on 30 January  1898, when visiting Apostle John W. Taylor promised Church members, “One of the most beautiful temples that was ever built among the Saints in the Rocky Mountains will be built in this valley.”[3] Andrew Kimball, father of President Spencer W. Kimball was Stake PResident of theSt. Joseph Stake At the time and recorded the prophesy in his journal.[4] Church President Spencer W. Kimball  heard the prophecy from his father. He was ordained as the president of the Church in 1973, and on May 1, 1973, he wrote a letter to the president of the local stake reminding him of this prophecy and declaring, “The Lord will find a way to do it.”[3]


The announcement of the temple on 26 April 2008 came concurrently with the Gilbert Arizona Temple, and together were the first new temples announced since Thomas S. Monson assumed responsibilities as the president of the LDS Church.[5][6][7]

Local church leadership announced on September 21, 2008, that the temple would be built on church owned property adjacent to U.S. Route 70 in the unincorporated community of Central. A petition to grant an exception to building height restrictions to accommodate a 100-foot-tall (30 m) steeple for the temple was given a favorable recommendation by the Graham County Planning and Zoning Commission and was subsequently approved by the county board of supervisors on October 20.[8][9]

In order to make room for the new temple and a new meetinghouse, two of four Church-owned baseball fields in the community of Central, Arizona, were cleared to make way for the temple and an adjoining meetinghouse on a 17-acre site.


A groundbreaking and site dedication ceremony took place on February 14, 2009, officially beginning the construction process. Elder Neil L. Andersen then of the Presidency of the Seventy presided at the groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication of the temple. The date was significant because it marked exactly 97 years since Arizona had achieved statehood.[10] The ground was broken at the location where the celestial room would stand.[11]

Open House

In December, 2009, the First Presidency of the Church announced a public open house prior to the dedication of the temple. The public was invited to visit the temple beginning on Friday, 23 April 2010, through Saturday, 15 May 2010, excluding Sundays. A total of 90,865 people took the opportunity to tour the temple before its dedication. (Only 40,000 people live in the county.)

Cultural Celebration

In conjunction with the temple dedication, a cultural celebration of music and dance throughout the region was staged on Saturday, 22 May 2010 at Mickelson Stadium at Eastern Arizona College. The production, titled “The Place Which God for Us Prepared” featured more than 1,600 young people ages 12-18 retold — through song, dance and words — the rich cultural history of eastern Arizona. On his way into the Stadium President Monson stopped to address the crowd. “I love these big events,” he said. “No one in the First Presidency or the Twelve advocate these big events more than Tom Monson.”

“That’s true,” said President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, who accompanied President Monson to eastern Arizona.

To the delight of the audience, President Monson and President Eyring sang “Alla En El Rancho Grande” in Spanish.



The temple was dedicated on Sunday, 23 May 2010, by President and Prophet Thomas S. Monson in three dedicatory sessions. The day started first with a cornerstone ceremony,presided over by President Monson. President Kimball’s son, Andrew Kimball, attended the cornerstone ceremony and remarked that his father always wanted the temple in his hometown community to bear one name: “The Gila Valley Temple,” Emphasizing “The.” He added that his father “is very pleased.”[13] At  President Monson’s dedicatory prayer asked God to bless the temple so that it would be a “house of prayer, a refuge from the cares of the world and a place of peace and love.”

There is a fun story passed around about the prophets arrival for the dedication. Follow this link and read it, it’s worth the time!

Dedicatory Prayer

Dedication Order

The Gila Valley Arizona Temple is the 132nd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, third to be dedicated in Arizona,and the 66th temple in the United States.

At the time of its dedication there were 8 temples under construction, 12 awating groundbreaking,and 3 temples undergoing renovation.

Under Construction Awaiting Groundbreaking Undergoing Renovation
CebuCity Philippines Gilbert Arizona Laie Hawaii
Tegucigalpa Honduras Phoenix Arisona Atlanta Georgia
Quetzaltenango Guatemala Cordoba Argentina Buenos Aires Argentina
Manaus Brazil Philadelphia Pennsylvania
San Salvador El Salvador RomeItaly
Calgary Alberta Trujillo Peru
Kansas City Missouri Brigham City Utah
Kyiv Ukraine Concepcion Chile
Fortaleza Brazil
Fort Lauderdale Florida
Sapporo Japan
Payson Utah


Temple President Years Served
President Mark C. Herrington 2015–
President Jay G. Layton 2012–2015
President Keith Crockett 2010–2012

In order to make room for the new temple and a new meetinghouse, two of four Church-owned baseball fields in the community of Central, Arizona, were cleared to make way for the temple and an adjoining meetinghouse on a 17-acre site adjacent to U.S. Route 70


One of many smaller temples built by the Church, the 18,561-square-foot  temple is


The exterior is finished in crisp, white architectural precast stone. A motif of interlocking circles is featured in the exterior stonework.


The same circles theme is also featured in the art glass windows. There are 60 windows in the temple, with 295 individual art glass panes. The Celestial Room windows alone have 63 individual panes of glass.



There is one incription on The Gila Valley Temple. It is on the north east side of the temple above the entryway doors. The inscription is engraved and gilded.



The cornerstone of The Gila Valley Temple ison the east most corner, south east face. Like the inscription the letters are engraved and gilded.


Spires and Moroni


The Gila Valley Arizona Temple is designed with a contemporary single spire that reaches 104 feet into the air.


The exterior of the temple was completed  with the placement of the Angel Moroni statue on the temple’s steeple on September 22 2009.[14]  The Statue was carved in 1982 by Karl Quilter, and is placed ont he spire so that his chest and feet face east.


During remarks prior to the dedicatory prayer, Monson noted that an anonymous benefactor, a woman from the area, had given $500,000 to allow the temple to be adorned with much original artwork.

An inlaid stone pattern of marble and limestone welcomes patrons on the floor of the temple’s entry, and highly polished maple and cherry woods accent the interior. Eleven original pieces of art were commissioned for the temple, one notable piece being a mural of the Gila River Valley, painted by Keith Bond of Colorado, that wraps around one of the temple’s instruction rooms. The mural is 8 feet high and 80 feet long and is intended to give the viewer a sense of being in the surrounding landscape and to invite the viewer to feel reverence for God’s creations.

Individuals and Contractors

Architect  Architectural Nexus
Project Manager
 Kerry B. Nielsen
Contractor  Jacobsen Construction
Electrical  GSL Electric
Interior stone
Global Stone Inc.
Civil Engineering/Site Survey
PLS Group
Glass Work Boulevard Glass
Art Glass Design Juergen Dzierzon
Detail Painting and gilding Allen Decorative Painting

Sources and Links

External links

Additional Articles


  1. [1]“LDS Church announces two new temples in Arizona”. The Salt Lake Tribune. April 27, 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  2. [2]McClintock, James H. (1921). Mormon settlement in Arizona. Phoenix, Arizona: Office of the Arizona State Historian. p. 223. OCLC 1988605. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  3. [3]Sarah Jane Weaver “Temple is Beautiful, Just as Foretold 110 Years Ago,” Church News, 29 May 2010
  4. [4]“The Gila Valley Temple”, 26 May 2010.
  5. [5]Branom, Mike (April 27, 2008). “New Mormon temple slated for Gilbert”. East Valley Tribune. Archived from the original on April 29, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
  6. [6]“President Monson Announces Two New Temples in Arizona,” Mormon Newsroom, 28 APRIL 2008
  7. [7]“Two new temples: Gilbert, Gila Valley,” Church News, 26 April 2008
  8. [8]Saunders, Diane (September 29, 2008). “Temple could be in Central”. Eastern Arizona Courier. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
  9. [9]Saunders, Diane (October 22, 2008). “Supervisors approve prelim plat for Sierra Del Sol,” Eastern Arizona Courier. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
  10. [10]Adair, Jill (February 16, 2009). “Ground broken for Gila Valley temple”. Church News. Retrieved October 15, 2012
  11. [11]“Open House and Dedication Dates Announced for Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple,”, 13 January 2009.
  12. [12]Sarah Jane Weaver, “Youth celebration depictscultural history of eastern Arizona,” Church News, May 23, 2010
  13. [13]“‘The Gila Valley,’ plain and simple,” Church News, 29 May  2010.
  14. [14]Johnston, Jon (September 27, 2009). “Angel placed atop LDS temple”. Eastern Arizona Courier. Retrieved October 27, 2009.